On November 2nd we celebrate an important day of the year on which we commemorate all the faithful departed, also known as All Souls. On that same day last year, FORMED also released a new video series called Eternal Rest: The Art of Dying Well, which, as you can imagine, is about death and eternal life. I watched and wrote about this last year when it was brand new, but thought it would be good to revisit that series and promote it as a good thing to watch this November, a month in which we recall our deceased brothers and sisters. Here is a brief glimpse of the episodes with the hope that you might check them (or some) out for yourself. The personal stories and testimonies were probably my favourite part; these added that relatable human element.
Each of Eternal Rest’s four 30-minute episodes addresses large-scale questions about death from a Catholic perspective. The series takes viewers on a journey from death’s origin to Christ’s final victory at the Cross and Resurrection. The following is a brief description of what each episode looks at.
The Story of Death
Where did death come from? What does death mean for the human person? Is it simply just part of life, or is it something else? In this first session, we discuss the story of death and God’s response to it: defeating death by dying and rising from the dead.
What happens after the moment of our death? Once the soul has been separated from the body, then what? What is heaven, hell, and purgatory? What is the difference between the particular judgement and the general judgement? This session looks at the truth about what awaits the human person on the other side of death.
The Hour of Our Death
The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is one of the seven sacraments of the Church. But whom exactly is this sacrament for? What are its effects? In this session, we discover the role of this sacramental anointing in the spiritual struggle during serious illness, in the final stages of our temporal life, and at the hour of our death.
The Faithful Departed
What is left for the living to do after someone dies? In this session, we talk about the final ways in which those still living on earth care for the body and soul of the dead. We discuss the work that remains for the living to do as we grieve for the deceased and as we turn to the work of preparing for our own death, and the hope in which we live and die as Christians.
The video series can be found here with a log in to FORMED through our parish's subscription: https://watch.formed.org/eternal-rest.
The month of November is an especially privileged time where we can ponder our own mortality, as well as pray for those who have died. Why contemplate our own death in relation to recalling that others have died? The art of dying well is also the art of living well. By understanding who we are and what we are made for, we can order our lives and values according to God’s design for our true fulfilment. Knowing we will die someday allows us to live as prudent stewards of the time we’re given, and it grants us the ability to joyfully anticipate eternal life. No matter our age or health, we will have to face this reality. In the four weeks this October, I've either presided or attended about 8 funeral or funeral related events. It is good to be equipped with some answers for the inevitable questions that arise from one of the biggest mysteries of life.
Tempus Fugit, Memento Mori (Time Flies, Remember Death)
May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Fr. Brian Trueman